9 Day Southern Lakes

9 Day Southern Lakes

A leisurely circuit around the South Island's top scenic regions. Time to enjoy the natural wonders of fiords, glaciers and our alpine environment. Milford Sound Cruise, Queenstown, Wanaka, Mt Cook National Park & TranzAlpine train are all included.

Tour Info

Tour Type: Independent Coach Tour
From: Christchurch to Christchurch
Departures: Feb 2018 to May 2019
Price:
From (NZD) $2118 per person
Tour Operator: Relaxing Journeys
Pace: Comfortable
Duration: 9 Days
Tour Code: RJ207

Inclusions

8 nights accommodation
All Coach, Ferry & Rail Transport & Transfers
Optional Breakfasts
Daily Departures
Milford Sound Day Tour & Cruise (including lunch)
TranzAlpine Train Journey

* Note: Prices shown are per person (based on two people travelling). Prices are valid for travel until September 2018

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Day by Day Tour Itinerary

Day 1
Arrive Christchurch

Welcome to Christchurch, gateway to the South Island. Christchurch’s rebuild is underway after the earthquake in 2011 and visitors are welcome to experience the new ‘Transitional City’ to its fullest. The city can be fully explored with easy access to shopping in the ‘Re: START Mall’ and New Regent Street Shopping Precincts. Stroll along the Avon River and enjoy the new cafes and bars that have reopened recently. Cathedral Square is open & the fresh Transitional Square has been fitted out with large colourful artworks, plants, interpretation panels, theatre space and seating as well as an information booth for residents and visitors.

Day 2
Christchurch - Mt Cook - Queenstown

This morning you will depart Christchurch and travel through the Canterbury Plains to Lake Tekapo. Here your coach will take a short break and it’s a great opportunity for you to take in the extreme beauty of this region from the Southern Alps, to the iconic Church of the Good Shepherd & the picturesque Lupins that border the turquoise glacial fed lake. Continue through the Mackenzie Country before arriving at Aoraki/Mt Cook village. Take advantage of your time here and enjoy a delicious three course lunch at the famous Hermitage Hotel (not included) or perhaps an optional scenic helicopter or ski plane flight (weather permitting), perhaps you’d prefer to explore the treasures of New Zealand’s mountaineering history at the Sir Edmund Hillary Centre. You will then follow the Southern Alps south to the tussock covered hills of the Lindis Pass, through the rugged Kawarau Gorge and into Queenstown. (3 nights)

Day 3
Queenstown

Today is completely at your leisure to enjoy the many sights of this alpine resort situated on the shores of Lake Wakatipu. Queenstown offers something for everyone – you can enjoy the quiet beauty and tranquility of this mountain retreat and enjoy several walking trails in the town area. For sheer excitement there is white-water rafting, helicopter rides, the famous jet boats, bungy jumping to pump your adrenalin, and offroad 4WD tours with plenty of river crossings. There are cruises on the lake and a visit to a high country sheep station, and wine tasting tours. You can visit nearby Arrowtown where the main street has been preserved since the 1860’s gold rush days and you can try your luck and pan for gold in the adjacent Shotover River.

Day 4
Milford Sound Day Tour & Cruise

It’s an early start. Head off around the southern shores of Lake Wakatipu to Lake Te Anau, then into the World Heritage Fiordland National Park, a region rich with dense rainforest, lakes and waterfalls cascading from rugged mountain peaks. Journey through the Southern Alps via the Homer Tunnel, a 1.2km tunnel drilled through a solid mountain of rock. Upon arrival at Milford Sound, board your vessel for a spectacular cruise where you will see the wonders of Mitre Peak, glacier scarred rock walls that rise 1,200m vertically from the sea, and waterfalls that tumble from hanging valleys and crash into the sound far below. Board the coach for Queenstown, arriving in the evening. If the weather is suitable take a scenic flight back over the Southern Alps (own expense). (L)

Day UP
Milford Sound Return Flight Upgrade (From NZ$395pp)

Return to Queenstown on a scenic flight taking in magnificent views of the alps, glaciers, lakes and forests of Fiordland National Park – a quick and convenient way to return to Queenstown. (Duration 35mins) The flight shaves off approximately 4 hours off a return by coach. It is however very weather dependent, so if the weather doesn’t play ball, then you will need to return by coach and we will refund the upgrade price.

Day 5
Queenstown - Wanaka

Depart Queenstown this morning for your short journey through Gibbston Valley and the rugged Kawarau Gorge passing the tranquil Lake Dunstan and into Wanaka. This afternoon is free for you to enjoy this peaceful resort town – take a stroll around the lake or for something a bit different why not visit Puzzling World or the Fighter Pilot’s Museum, pure entertainment for all ages.

Day 6
Wanaka - Franz Josef

Today your coach will arrive mid-morning for your onward journey to the west coast glacier region. Head north past the gorgeous Lake Hawea enjoying breathtaking scenery before arriving at Haast Pass – which is the southernmost pass between the east and west coasts of the south island. Once arriving on the west coast you’ll experience views of jagged mountain tops, brilliant waterfalls and vast rainforests before arriving at Franz Josef. (2 nights)

Day 7
Franz Josef

Today you have a whole day at leisure. Perhaps enjoy an optional guided walk on the glacier, a heli-hike or a scenic flight, or an unguided walk to the terminal face. Franz Josef Glacier extends 12 kms from the high snow fields of the Southern Alps. The terminal face of the Franz Josef glacier is just 5 kms from the Franz Josef township.

Day UP
Glaciers Upgrade Package

Treat yourself and upgrade your accommodation in Franz Josef to the 5 star Te Waonui Forest Retreat, a luxury lodge hotel nestled amongst native West Coast rainforest. Our upgrade package includes luxurious accommodation, dinner on the first night – an indulgent 5 course degustation menu in The Canopy Restaurant, and a la carte breakfast both mornings. We’ve also included a stunning Franz Josef Heli Hike to help you make the most of your time in the region. Ask us for a price!

Day 8
Franz Josef - TranzAlpine Train - Christchurch

Board your coach and head north through Hokitika and into the small town of Greymouth where you will stop to stretch your legs before boarding the renowned TranzAlpine Train for one of the world’s great scenic train trips to Christchurch. Experience the beautiful Lake Brunner, spectacular viaducts, 8.6kms in the lengthy Otira Tunnel, ice – fed rivers, patchwork farmland and the tussock landscape of the Canterbury Plains. Arrive at approximately 6:05pm in Christchurch.

Day 9
Depart Christchurch

Sadly your trip has come to an end. We hope that you have thoroughly enjoyed your experiences in New Zealand. Today you will be met at your accommodation and transferred to the airport for your onward journey. Have a safe trip home.

4.8/5.0

There are 11 reviews of this tour from past clients of Relaxing Journeys, averaging 4.8 out of 5.

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Tour Reviews

5
22/06/2016
We are beyond satisfied with the quality of service rendered by Relaxing Journeys. In hindsight, it was pretty amazing how our excellent tour consultant, Mani, could work with myself in Singapore (with a 4 hour time zone difference), to finalize a customized tour itinerary that efficiently and effectively. I'm a stickler for details and Mani was extremely accommodating and patient to all my queries. We were very happy with the proposed itinerary, all (but 1 small transfer due to an isolated driver incident) was seamless. Every experience we had on this tour, whether in the included tours or optional tours, were of high quality. Location of hotels were fantastic as were the quality of the hotels. We opted for the mid-range hotels and they were exactly as how it should be; functional quality at a reasonable price. We couldn't have asked for a better first-time trip to New Zealand and have zero regrets in choosing Relaxing Journeys to help us with our tour planning. This is our first time engaging an inbound tour operator in all our travels and it has been a fantastic experience. We would absolutely choose to engage in this company going forward, as we would definitely find our way back to New Zealand again. Thank you once again Mani - it was a real gem of a trip and thanks for helping to make it happen.
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5
31/12/2015
After several emails with Relaxing Journeys they came up with a self guided Southern Lakes tour for me. All of the accommodation and transfers, plus any other side tours I wanted were organised prior to my arrival. This is perfect for someone travelling alone who is not into \"guided coach tours\". Plus is a great introduction to the south island. I had not been before and wanted to get a glimpse of various parts which Southern Lakes provided. To say the least this is a beautiful part of the world, picture post card views around every corner. The accommodation booked (premium level) was excellent with a couple of upgrades along the way, which was nice and unexpected. All of the transfers and pick-ups were on time with no problems what so ever. All of the transport staff were extremely helpful and knowledgeable, commentary was excellent aboard the transfer transportation.
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5
27/05/2015
I rarely use tour companies because I like the freedom to choose what I want to do. However, with the various options available through Relaxing Journeys we were able to have some time to do what we wanted to do and yet still have the convenience of having all your travel details (transportation, hotels, breakfast, admission fees, etc) handled. These details were handled expertly. The communication with the staff was prompt and informative. All the accommodation reservations went smoothly; transportation from taxis, bus, boats, etc were arranged without a problem. We chose 4 star accommodations and overall we were pleased with the hotels selected. I highly recommend using this company.
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5
03/03/2015
The tour was excellent- everything went like clockwork - every pick up on time, hotel check-ins smooth etc. We were very lucky to be upgraded at Franz Josef to the Te Waonui forest retreat hotel which was excellent. A special mention for the Queenstown Boutique hotel in Queenstown. I think you arranged for us to stay there because those you would normally use were full. However, I would suggest you put it at the top of your list. It was brilliant!! Superb location-a short walk across a sportsfield to the centre of Queenstown, beautifully fitted out rooms and such excellent staff. Only a very small hotel but everyone cared that guests were having a good time.

Only downside was that breakfast didn't start till 7.30am long after all trips and transfers had left. It didn't bother us too much but on our last evening the owner/general manager came to speak to us and over a glass of wine (they have complementary canopies and wine available for all guests between 6 & 7 pm) offered us an early breakfast before we left and said that if we had asked earlier would have given us provisions in our room for a continental -style breakfast on the previous 2 mornings. A tip to tell other guests if you use this hotel again. Finally and most importantly, Toni. Such a great person to deal with, nothing was too much trouble and always incredibly swift responses (overnight most of the time) even though we had to change our original dates and re-schedule. Thank you so much. We will recommend you to anyone wanting to visit New Zealand.
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5
06/04/2013
Well planned and orchestrated. Estimated and actual times matched perfectly. Accommodations were as described or even better. Itinerary detail with voucher numbers provided easy access to the attractions reserved. Customized trip plans met perfectly with our wishes, thanks to the flexibility and experience of our tour consultant. Responsiveness of consultant was very timely, even given the time zone differences. Follow-up and correspondence prior to the trip provided thorough explanation and instruction. We could not have been more pleased. I am not one to automatically rate an experience 'excellent' across the board, because I want my review to be as helpful as possible for future travelers, but in this case it is most definitely deserved. Even their survey is 'relaxing' and not a burden. I would use Relaxing Journeys again without hesitation.
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5
07/02/2012
We were very impressed by the quality of hotels, the organisation of the tour and the helpful guides. We would recommend this independent tour as it provided flexibility and could be tailored to our particular needs.
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5
28/06/2011
Out tour was fantastic! My family and I agree that we will definitely go back to NZ in the near future, especially now we know the places that we want to see more of! Everything about the tour, the accommodation, coach drivers, people we met, were all great. The coach drivers were very friendly and informative and had many interesting things to say as we passed by towns and scenery. And the scenery - wow so beautiful!! All of my family had never seen snow before so that was just magnificent to see. However for the time we were there, there was not much of it falling (the locals said it was very unusual for that time of year) so it gives us more of a reason to come back, which we definitely will! Our tour went off without a hitch and for that we'd like to thank you Toni for everything you had done to make it a fabulous holiday! It may have only been the small things like arranging hotel transfers and coach pick ups to and from our accommodation but this saved us a lot of time (and probably stress!) and so we really do appreciate it! You are brilliant! Again thank you so much! We look forward to travelling back to your magnificent country again and hopefully soon! The Edgerton Family - Australia
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4
28/10/2010
Our tour was fantastic. South Island was so beautiful, it was our first time and it felt like we were inside a big picture. Bus rides were good, it was commentary all the way and stopped at all the scenic places for photos. We were picked up on time. TranzAlpine ride was awesome, scenery was great. We will be going back again and this time with more family members, as they loved the photos we took. Thank you again Relaxing Journeys. Thanks to Toni Harris who took care of it all and arranged it for us.
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4
20/03/2009
Jill was extremely helpful in the planning dept. My nephew and I fully enjoyed our visit. The only thing that would have enhanced our visit would have been a longer stay. The accommodations were good, especially nice in Queenstown. The coaches were clean and comfortable and the drivers friendly and informative. The included tours were great, especially Milford Sound cruise. Thanks for the great experience. I wouldn't hesitate to use your services again or recommend them to friends. Thanks again. Julie.
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5
06/03/2009
We have had a most wonderful trip. It has taken about 10 days to sort out all the laundry and put the cases away! Our NZ tour all worked well. We were impressed with the voucher system, the hotels were good and the bus service efficient. The unescorted tour option proved to be very good for us. We enjoyed the freedom of exploring on our own and decided that we were much better doing as we did and not what we planned originally. The TransAlpine train journey was wonderful and visiting Milford Sound breath-taking and we were pleased to be staying overnight at Te Anau and were spared the long ride back to Queenstown. The distinction hotel in Te Anau is literally around the corner from the bus depot. The only real disappointment was the final journey from Dunedin to Christchurch. The main bus route is uninteresting and rather tedious particularly as the weather was cold and very wet. An alternative may have been to fly back from Dunedin, or is it possible to travel by train? I did not consider at all Wanaka and it seems to be a lovely place to stay. If aware and with time to spare others may perhaps try to include a stay here. All in all, I feel that all the research was very worthwhile. We have had the holiday of a lifetime and have so many wonderful memories. Thank you all for your advice, attention and excellent organisation. If we can gather the finances who knows we may get there again! Best wishes Anne.
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5
29/09/2008
The tour went well and was on time. we did not encounter any problems. The weather was great and food at Queenstown was delicious. We were very happy with the tour.
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Enquire about our 9 Day Southern Lakes

9 Day Southern Lakes
Independent Coach Tour
Tour Code: RJ207
From (NZD) $2118 per person
Enquire Now
Departures: Feb 2018 to May 2019
Rating:
11 reviews (4.8/5)

A leisurely circuit around the South Island's top scenic regions. Time to enjoy the natural wonders of fiords, glaciers and our alpine environment. Mi... Read More

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9 Day Southern Lakes
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